StaffCircle secures £1.3 million Seed Follow On investment from Blackfinch Investments and Mercia

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HR platform built for remote working raises further £1.3m

A HR software platform which helps companies to manage remote workers has raised a further £1,275,000 to fund its rapid expansion.

StaffCircle has secured a further £1m from Blackfinch Investments, with the additional funding coming from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, and private investors.

The Leicester-based company has tripled its revenue since the first lockdown a year ago and begun to expand its customer base into the US and Middle East. The funding will allow it to further enhance its platform, create seven new jobs and scale the business in the run-up to a Series A fundraising in the year ahead.

StaffCircle’s platform helps companies to engage more effectively with employees in different locations, improve performance and reduce the time spent on administration. Founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Mark Seemann, it currently employs 20 staff.

The latest investment round is the second by Blackfinch, which made an initial £670,000 investment in May last year, and the third by MEIF, which has invested £750,000 to date.

Mark Seemann, the CEO, said: 

In a world of remote working, managing employee performance has never been more challenging. StaffCircle introduces new levels of structure and visibility, connecting employees and helping teams to meet targets. The latest funding round demonstrates the confidence our investors place in us and will enable us to roll out the platform to many more companies.”

Richard Cook, CEO and Founder at Blackfinch, added: 

“StaffCircle has created an impressive offering in a growing market, through efficient product development and a solid sales strategy. The decision to invest further funds was an easy one to make, not least because the company exceeded their revenue projections last year. The experienced team are highly driven and we look forward to helping them on their journey towards success.”

David Baker of Mercia added: 

“StaffCircle created a platform for remote working before it became the norm. The Midlands Engine Investment Fund has supported the business from an early stage. With working from home now an established practice, this latest funding will help Mark and his team to take advantage of the growth opportunities and take the business to the next level.”

Jamie Partington of Higgs & Co provided legal advice to Mercia on the deal.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

ENDS

Press contacts

Alison Dwyer
Head of Marketing & Communications
Mercia Asset Management PLC
+44 (0) 7464 480 137
[email protected] 

Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent
Turquoise PR

+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816

[email protected]

About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £96million into its direct investment portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.

The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –

  • Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
  • Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
  • EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560

www.mercia.co.uk

Future Fund

The Future Fund was established to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The Future Fund, now closed to new applications, provides UK-based companies with convertible loans, on the condition that third-party investors at least match the Government’s commitment. The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next qualifying funding round. The Future Fund is developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank.

About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof of Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South East Midlands in the East Midlands.

The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, the West Midlands and East & South East Midlands.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb

About Blackfinch

Blackfinch is an award-winning investment specialist and trusted provider working in partnership with advisers. Based in Gloucester and employing more than 100 full-time members of staff, it has a heritage dating back 25 years.

Its businesses cover tax-efficient solutions, early-stage investing, managed portfolio services and property financing, and it is entrusted with over £500 million in assets under management and administration.

Inspired by the work of Charles Darwin and founded on evolutionary principles, Blackfinch adapts to and evolves with customer requirements, helping others to thrive. In 2020, the group announced the launch of its rebrand, which reflects its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

As part of the rebrand, the investment specialist introduced a series of sub-sites for its businesses, which cover property and energy, ventures, investments, and asset management, along with a new site for Blackfinch Group.

About the British Business Bank

  • The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
  • The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn[1] of finance to almost 94,800 smaller businesses[2]. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has also launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering almost £73bn of finance to around 1.6m businesses.
  • As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.
  • In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.
  • British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk

[1] Figures as at end of June 2020

2 Figures as at 28 January 2021

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Safiya Marzook

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